MANILA – Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada is open to the proposal of Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza to elect a governor and vice governor for Metro Manila, but said the mayors of 16 cities and one municipality comprising Metro Manila should be consulted first on the matter.
“Dapat itanong muna sa bawat mayor,” Estrada told reporters during the inauguration of the modernized Quinta Market in Quiapo last Wednesday. “Dahil lahat ng alkalde ay halal ng taong bayan. Kaya ‘yung mamumuno sa mga alkalde halal din dapat ng taong bayan.”
As a city mayor, Estrada is a member of the Metro Manila Council (MMC), the policy-making body of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Atienza is former three-term mayor of Manila, and was opposition member of parliament in the Interim Batasang Pambansa.
Estrada agreed with Atienza’s House Bill 4758 that the governor and governor should be duly elected to effectively carry out their duties instead of being beholden to the ones who appointed them.
“Dapat ‘yung elected by the people, hindi appointed. Hindi ako tutol basta elected ng tao,” he pointed out.
Under Atienza’s bill, the Metropolitan Manila government will be headed by a governor and a vice governor, similar to how provincial governments are run. It cites megacities such as New York and Tokyo as its model.
Instead of having an MMDA chairman appointed by the President, Atienza believes that having a Metropolitan Manila government run by a governor and vice mayor, alongside the 17 mayors, could effectively solve the metropolis’ perennial problems such as traffic congestion.
This setup was first implemented by then President Ferdinand Marcos on November 7, 1975 when he created the Metropolitan Manila Commission (MMC), the forerunner of the present-day MMDA.
Instead of calling for an election, however, Marcos appointed his wife, First Lady Imelda Marcos and Ismael Mathay, Jr. as governor and vice governor, respectively, of Metro Manila.